Earth to Pruitt: Paris is still on!

EPA chief continues to alienate important allies

This now seems to be a bit of prescient moment during the COP 21 talks in Paris. @bberwyn photo.

By Bob Berwyn

The U.S. government continues to show how out of tune it is with the rest of the world’s leading economic nations with a press release from the EPA claiming that it has “reset” the conversation about climate change to reflect the Trump administration priorities and the “expectation of the American people.”

Apparently, EPA Administrator didn’t get the clear message from scores of American cities and states that responded to Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement by forming a sub-national coalition that is aiming to uphold the goals of that agreement. The We Are Still In Group also includes hundreds of counties, universities and businesses committed to the agreement, so all Pruitt is managing to do is to divide the country.

In the release, the EPA claims it approached recent G7 climate and environment discussions in Bologna, Italy from a position of strength and clarity.

Pruitt said in the statement that the U.S. found common ground with the rest of the G7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom) on other important areas, including resource efficiency, marine litter, and environmental policies and jobs.

By contrast, the other six countries ramped up their commitment to the Paris agreement, calling it “irreversible” and crucial to the “security and prosperity of our planet, societies and economies.” They also reaffirmed the need to help island nations and least-developed countries with strong financial mechanisms, and continued to steer toward a global price on carbon that could become costly for the U.S.

Here is the climate change section of the communique:

The Environment Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom, and European Commissioners responsible for environment and climate, reaffirm strong commitment to the swift and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, which remains the global instrument for effectively and urgently tackling climate change and adapting to its effects. We welcome the continued support that the Paris Agreement has received from other countries, and subnational and non-state actors around the world.    

The Environment Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom, and the European Commissioners responsible for environment and climate agree that the Paris agreement is irreversible and its full integrity is key for the security and prosperity of our planet, societies and economies. Our actions will continue to be inspired and guided by the growing, global momentum to tackle climate change and to accelerate the irreversible transition to low-carbon, climate- resilient and resource-efficient economies.   

We welcome the early entry into force of the Paris Agreement and the outcome of COP22 in Marrakech including the “Marrakech Action Proclamation for our Climate and Sustainable Development”.

We recall the Paris Agreement’s long-term goal of limiting global temperature increases to well below 2°C, pursuing efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C, enhancing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate- resilient development. This goal requires ramped-up pre-2020 action and further transformational changes thereafter.   

To this end it is necessary to increase our efforts to mobilize bilateral and multilateral climate finance as well as align financial flows with the goals of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement, and to achieve a global decarbonized, climate- resilient economy over the course of this century, including the transformation of the energy sectors by mid-century. We therefore reaffirm the Copenhagen commitment of developed countries to the goal of jointly mobilizing US$100 billion annually by 2020 from public and private sources to support climate action in developing countries. We encourage all potential providers of finance to join in efforts in reaching and surpassing this goal.             

We recognize the particular need of the most vulnerable countries such as the Small Island Development States and Least Developed Countries to address the impact of climate change.                  

We strongly encourage all countries, who have not done so yet, to ratify the Paris Agreement and commit to support efforts to adopt its rulebook by 2018 and to work with all Parties to achieve this. We acknowledge the potential that climate change has to undermine poverty eradication and sustainable development and recognize the importance of including actions which consider the challenges and concerns of women and Indigenous peoples.                 

Implementing the Paris Agreement, coherently with and in the context of the 2030 Agenda, is essential and can provide us with significant opportunities for modernizing our economies, for enhancing competitiveness, and stimulating employment and growth, while securing social inclusion. The implementation of the 2030 Agenda can also engage and benefit from the experience of the many coalitions and initiatives developed under the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action. In this context we welcome the growing number of private sector actions, such as the work of the Financial Stability Board Task Force on climate related financial disclosure.                 

We stand ready to continue cooperating with all Parties in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.            

We welcome the inclusive and transparent consultations held during the sessions of the subsidiary bodies of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in May 2017 on the organization of the Facilitative Dialogue in 2018. We recognize the importance of the 2018 Facilitative Dialogue in maintaining momentum and encouraging ambitious global action towards achieving the long- term temperature goal of the Paris Agreement. We continue to support COP22 Presidency and the incoming COP23 Presidency in their efforts with a view to developing and presenting a shared proposal on the design of the 2018 Facilitative Dialogue at COP23 in Bonn, in accordance with the mandate contained in COP22 decision.

We commit to engage actively in this dialogue, with a view to taking stock of collective progress towards achieving the long-term temperature goal, and to inform the preparation of a new Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) by 2020 for Parties with an NDC containing a timeframe up to 2025 or, for Parties with an NDC containing a timeframe up to 2030, the communication or updating of these contributions by 2020.

We call on all Parties to contribute constructively to a focused, clear and participatory dialogue with a view to deliver an ambitious outcome that helps us achieve our climate goals.    

We support an interactive evidence-based dialogue drawing on the best available science, including reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the sharing of experience and best practice as well as expertise from United Nations institutions and intergovernmental organizations. This dialogue will increase our understanding of collective progress and highlight concrete opportunities for actions and cost-efficient solutions in areas of high mitigation potential.               

We also recognize the essential role of sub-national and non-state actors through the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action in developing coalitions and implementing ambitious climate actions as part of the collective efforts that will contribute to the achievement of the long-term mitigation goal of the Paris Agreement. We look forward to their contribution to this process                   

We intend to share information on the progress in putting in place and implementing measures to achieve our NDCs and inform on progress in preparing to communicate or update NDCs to be submitted by 2020.

We acknowledge with appreciation the efforts made by those countries that already submitted mid-century long-term low GHG emission development strategies and encourage remaining Parties to complete their strategies well ahead of the 2020 deadline.

We recognize the important role of carbon pricing in tackling climate change, including market-based approaches and we welcome the second Strategic Dialogue of the Carbon Market Platform that will take place in September.












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